By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Rebisco Philippines put up a whale of a fight before suffering a 36-34, 24-26, 26-28, 25-19, 15-12 defeat to Diamond Food of Thailand in what could be the most entertaining and longest match so far in the 2021 Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand Monday night.
In a duel between two Southeast Asian countries, the PH spikers played passionately although they were already out of semis picture after dropping their first three matches in their group elims.
So intense were the first three sets that these were decided by just two points as both clubs were determined to cut each other’s throats and displayed sharp form.
After being overwhelmed in the fourth, Rebisco even took a 9-6 lead in the fifth following back-to-back spikes from Jao Umandal, but unforced errors in the pivotal stretch ended their momentum and led to their downfall.
The meltdown put to waste the brilliance the Filipino spikers showed early on where they bedazzled the Thais with their rocket-like spikes apart from coming through with a rock-solid defense.
Rebisco also lost to Foolad Sirjan of Iran, AGMK of Uzbekistan and Al-Arabi of Qatar.
The best that Rebisco could do is to beat the fifth-place finisher in Pool A in the battle for 9th place.
Jao Umandal, meanwhile, led the Filipinos with 26 points highlighted by 23 attacks, while Mark Alfafara and skipper John Vic De Guzman added 23 and 16 points.